Skip to main content

Full text of "Design"

See other formats

Embroidery 101 


Make Projects 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover,^ 

Embroidery 101 

Written By: Dolin OShea 


Embroidery design (1) 

Water soluble fabric pen (1) 

or a heat transfer pencil, or a heat transfer design 

• Embroidery hoop (1) 

7" is a good size for beginners. 

• Embroidery needles (1) 

100% cotton fabric (1) 

plain weaver fabric in a light color, such as a tea towel, muslin, or poplin. 

Small sharp scissors (1) 

Fabric scissors (1) 

• 6-strand cotton embroidery floss (1) 


Gussy up some fabric with easy decorative stitches that will wow your friends and family. To 
embroider basically means to decorate material with needlework. Embroidery is based on 
hand-sewing stitches, and encompasses many different forms of stitching: cross-stitch, 
crewel, quilting, needlepoint, and much more. What you'll be learning here is good ol' basic 
embroidery, the type that Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching has made so hip and cool. Once 
© Make Projects Page 1 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

you know the basics, try experimenting with different types of threads, stitches, and fabrics. 
I think of embroidering like painting — your floss is the paint and your fabric is the canvas. 
You can illustrate many beautiful things with just a few stitches under your belt. 

Embroidery is very easy. All you need is a needle, floss, an embroidery hoop, your 
imagination, and some material. It's also very portable, so you can do it during your 
commute, hanging out with your friends, or in front of the TV. If you're just starting out, your 
design should be a simple line drawing, or you can use a heat-transferred embroidery 
design, available for purchase. Gather up all the necessary materials, sit down, get cozy, 
and start your stitching! 

Step 1 — Prep the fabric. 

• Pre-wash the fabric before you 
start — that way you won't have to 
deal with the fabric shrinking and 
puckering after you've done all 
your fancy needlework. 

• Your fabric needs to be at least a 
few inches larger on all sides than 
the embroidery design, so that you 
can easily put the embroidery hoop 
on your fabric. If you're using a tea 
towel or an item of clothing, make 
sure you place your design far 
enough from the edge so that you 
can isolate that fabric on the 
embroidery hoop. 

© Make Projects 

Page 2 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 2 — Transfer your design and put the fabric in the hoop. 


^^ "'"*• 

"^- I^****. 

A^— — ■ ^y-O ^*—*t 

/ 1 / -"^ 

~~ — 

— ~*~ — . 


1 /'/£• 

i—* ■■ 


~~ ~^-^<f VT 


1 I / 






i ' A 


«. -*^ 






• For the seahorse design (available 
for download under Files), I taped 
the design with the fabric over it to 
a bright sunny window, then traced 
over it with a water-soluble fabric 
pen. If you're transferring your 
design onto darker fabric, you'll 
need to get some carbon transfer 
paper in a light color to trace onto 
your fabric. 

• Place the inner embroidery hoop on 
a flat surface, lay your fabric over 
the hoop with your design centered, 
and then place the outer hoop over 
both inner hoop and fabric. You 
may need to gently pull the edges 
of the fabric, after getting the hoop 
on, to make the fabric taut, like a 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 3 — Start the stitching. 

© Make Projects Page 4 of 1 

Embroidery 101 

• Cut your floss in lengths 12"-15". 
Any longer than that and your 
stitching arm will get tired from all 
the pulling and reaching. You'll also 
run into more of the dreaded 
tangling factor with longer pieces of 

• Thread your needle. You may want 
to moisten the end of the floss a bit 
with your mouth, to help keep all 
the strands together. Pull about 3"- 
4" through the eye of the needle; 
this gives you something to grip 
onto, so your needle doesn't come 
unthreaded. Then knot the other 
end of the floss. 

• Some embroidery purists insist on 
not using any knots when starting 
and stopping their stitches — they 
think it can look sloppy and cause 
excess bulkiness on the back of 
their work. I say knot away in the 
beginning, and then if you want to 
go the purist route later when 
you're a pro stitcher, you can. 

• Go over your design with the 
stitches of your choice (see the list 
of stitches, below), making sure to 
cover as much of the traced lines 
as possible. If you're using a heat- 
transferred pattern, this is really 
important, as the ink doesn't 
always wash out. 

© Make Projects 

Page 5 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 4 — Clean up. 

• Once you've finished stitching your 
design, some of your pen marks 
may still show. You can spray your 
fabric lightly with water (while it's 
still in the hoop) and those water- 
soluble pen marks will disappear. 
Let it dry in the hoop. Once dry, 
remove your work from the hoop 
and press with an iron on a terry 
cloth towel, with your design 
facedown on the towel. You don't 
want to flatten all your fancy 
stitching. That's it — so easy! 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 5 — Stitches. 

• Note: The colors of the stitches on the finished seahorse embroidery correspond with the 
tutorial images, except for the split stitch. 

• Running stitch (medium coral): One of the most basic stitches, it's used a lot in hand 
sewing. Pull your needle over and under the fabric at regular intervals. 

• Back stitch (medium turquoise): Another basic stitch you may have learned in hand- 
sewing. Pull your needle up through the fabric, make a stitch backward, and then bring 
your needle back up through the fabric in front of the stitch you just made. Continue the 
backward-and-forward stitching. 

■ Split stitch (dark brown on seahorse, light turquoise in tutorial): Make a single stitch, 
then pull your needle up through the middle of the stitch you just made, splitting the 
strands of the floss. 

© Make Projects 

Page 7 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 6 

• Couching (dark turquoise and dark coral): Place your floss flat along the fabric, then 
thread a second piece of floss and make small stitches over the floss that's flat along the 

• Chain stitch (medium green): Pull your needle up through the fabric, insert it in almost 
the same place you just pulled it through, making sure to leave a small loop, then bring 
your needle back up through the inside of the loop you just made. 

• Satin stitch (dark green): This stitch is a series of straight stitches filling in a small area. 
Stitches are made very close to each other, creating a smooth, filled-in surface. 

© Make Projects 

Page 8 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 7 

• Blanket stitch (peach): Work this stitch from left to right. Pull your needle up through the 
fabric, and then insert it back down at a point above and to the right of where you just 
brought it up. Bring your needle back up through the fabric a short distance to the right of 
the first stitch, making sure the floss loop is caught under your needle. 

• Fern stitch (light turquoise): Make 3 stitches at a slight angle to each other, all starting 
out of the same hole, and then continue these 3 stitches downward. 

• Feather stitch (light green): Pull your needle up through the fabric, then insert it a little to 
the right, creating a small loop. Bring it back up again a little below the 2 points, making 
sure to keep the floss loop under the needle. Then repeat the same stitches a little to the 
left. Continue the left-to-right motion, working this stitch downward. 

© Make Projects 

Page 9 of 10 

Embroidery 101 

Step 8 

• French knot (light gray): Pull your needle up through the fabric, wrap the floss around the 
needle a couple of times (hold the wrapped floss loops close to the fabric) and insert the 
needle a very short distance away. 

• Bullion stitch (dark coral): Insert your needle, then pull just the needle's point up through 
the fabric a short distance away (this distance will be the length of your bullion stitch). 
Wrap your floss around the needle's point at least 6 times, holding the wrapped floss close 
to the fabric. Pull the needle up all the way through, and reinsert it back down where you 
first pulled it through the fabric. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 06 pages 132-137. 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-03 01 :20:49 PM. 

© Make Projects 

Page 10 of 10